Deniz Gezmiş was a Marxist-Leninist and political activist in the Republic of Turkey in the late 1960s. He was one of the founding members of the People's Liberation Army of Turkey (THKO).
The son of a teacher, Gezmiş was educated in various Turkish cities. He spent most of his childhood in Sivas, where his father also grew up. Gezmiş graduated from high school in Istanbul, where he first encountered left wing ideas.
After joining the Workers Party of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye İşçi Partisi), he studied law at İstanbul University in 1966. In 1968, he founded the Revolutionary Jurists Organisation (Turkish: Devrimci Hukukçular Örgütü) and Revolutionary Student Union (Turkish: Devrimci Öğrenci Birliği).
Becoming increasingly politically active, he led the student-organised occupation of İstanbul University on June 12, 1968. After the occupation was forcibly repelled by the law, he spearheaded protests against the arrival of the US 6th Fleet in Istanbul. Deniz Gezmiş was arrested for these actions on July 30, 1968, to be released on October 20 of the same year.
Intensifying his involvement within the Worker's Party of Turkey, and advocating a National Democratic Revolution, his ideas circulated and inspired a growing revolutionary student base. On November 28, 1968, he was arrested again after protesting US ambassador Robert Komer's visit to Turkey, but was later released. On March 16, 1969, for participating in conflicts between left and right wing students, he was arrested again and imprisoned until April 3. Gezmiş was injured and arrested after leading Istanbul University Law Faculty students on a protest of the reformation bill[clarification needed] on May 31, 1969. The university was temporarily closed. Although Gezmiş was under surveillance, he escaped from the hospital and went to Palestine Liberation Organization(Filistin Kurtuluş Örgütü FKÖ) camps in Jordan to receive guerrilla training.
During the 60s, Gezmiş crossed paths with the infamous American double agent, Aldrich Ames. While scouting for information on Soviet intelligence, Ames recruited a roommate of Gezmiş, who gave him information about the membership and activities of Devrimci Gençlik (DEV-GENÇ), a Marxist youth group.
On January 11, 1971, Deniz Gezmiş took part in the robbery of Emek branch of İş Bank/İş Bankasi(TR) in Ankara . On March 4 that year, he kidnapped four U.S. privates from TUSLOG/The United States Logistics Group headquartered in Balgat, Ankara. After releasing the hostages, he was captured alive and arrested in Şarkışla, Sivas with Yusuf Aslan following an armed stand-off with law enforcement officers.
Their trial began on July 16, 1971, and he was sentenced to death on October 9 for violating Turkish Criminal Code's 146th article, "attempting to overthrow the Constitutional order". According to legal procedure, the death sentence was to be endorsed by parliament before being sent to the president of the republic for the final assent. In March and April 1972, the sentence was sent to parliament and in both readings the sentence had been overwhelmingly approved by attending MP's. During the voting, politicians such as İsmet İnönü and Bülent Ecevit opposed the sentence, but Süleyman Demirel voted in favor of it.
On May 4, President Cevdet Sunay refused to grant a pardon, after officially consulting the Minister of Justice and Prime Minister Nihat Erim. The death sentence was carried out by hanging on May 6, 1972, along with the death sentences of Hüseyin İnan and Yusuf Aslan, in Ankara Central Prison.
His last request was to drink tea and listen to Concierto de Aranjuez, Joaquin Rodrigo's guitar concerto.
“ Long live the people of Turkey's independence. Long live the great ideology of Marxist-Leninism. Long live the brotherhood of Turkish and Kurdish people. Damn imperialism.
|Liveleak on Facebook|